Pastor Mark Driscoll of Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, recently tackled a question about whether Roman Catholics or Protestants are right about the Bible, while detailing his own Catholic upbringing and his decision to become a Protestant.
"Catholics or Protestants? Lutherans, Baptists or Presbyterians? There are so many schools of thought when it comes to Scripture. How do you know whose interpretation is right?" Driscoll posed after receiving a question on his website from a Christian with a Catholic friend curious about the different denominations.
The former Seattle megachurch pastor stated in a video that he grew up Catholic, having come from a long line of Irish Catholics. His grandmother became a nun and he was a former altar boy who went to Catholic school.
Driscoll said that Catholicism is a very broad tradition and noted that while he no longer identifies with it, he agrees with the Church in many of its theological standings.
"There are some Catholics who absolutely love Jesus. It's important when it comes to Catholicism to remember that they believe in one God, three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit — the Trinity. They believe in the virgin birth, the sinless life, the death and resurrection of Jesus," he said.
He also stated that Catholics are "not a cult or another religion."
He recalled that in his youth, he was not engaged with the Bible despite his religious upbringing. But that changed when Grace, his 17-year-old wife-to-be, the daughter of a pastor, gave him his first personal Bible.
It was then that Driscoll said that he "met the Holy Spirit," and that his life was transformed.
"All of a sudden I realized I am a sinner; that Jesus died for my sins, and rose as my Savior. That He lives to intercede for me," he described.
"God switched the light on my soul," he continued, explaining that he developed a deep appetite for Scripture, much like many other born-again believers develop.
"Just as your body needs food, your soul needs the Word of God," he recalled.
"When you open the Word of God .... the Holy Spirit will start to teach you the Word of God and now you're dealing with the Scriptures, not everybody else's interpretation and you come to your own understanding and learning."
He advised the Christian who posed the question to give her Catholic friend a good Bible and have that friend read and study it for his or herself, rather than argue about the different interpretations.
Driscoll also insisted that there are more things that Protestants and Catholics agree on than what they disagree on, but decided not focus on the latter in his video.
He said that the more important questions for believers are:
"Do they know Jesus, do they love Jesus, are they born again? Are they a Christian, or are they a religious person? You could grow up in church and not know Christ, you can be baptized in water but not have the Spirit," he positioned.
"A lot of the things in the Bible — Catholics, Protestants and also Orthodox believers agree on — we believe in Heaven and Hell, we believe that Jesus is one person, two natures: fully man, fully God," he concluded.
Other prominent evangelical pastors, such as Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, have previously struck a much more critical tone on Catholicism.
Jeffress has said in the past: "Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn't come from God's Word, it comes from that cult-like, pagan religion."
He later clarified, however, that he believes there are going to be "millions of Catholics in Heaven, because they have trusted in Christ as their Savior."